Defendants (criminal proceedings)


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Can I appeal?

You and your counsel may appeal against the sentence for any penalty that is not a fine.

The appeal must be filed with the judge who convicted you within a variable period of time: from 15 to 45 days from the verdict or recording of the judgment.

You must specify in your appeal the reasons for your appeal and issues of the sentence you are appealing against.

The trial will take place before the Court of Appeal or the “Corte d’Assise d’Appello”.

What happens if I appeal?

If you appeal against the sentence the penalty will not be executed until the decision is final.

The fact that you have appealed will not mean that you are released from prison, if you are in prison when you appeal. The Court of Appeal will hear your appeal within a short time if you are in custody. In any other case it will depend on the amount of work the Court has.

The Court of Appeal decides on the existing evidence.

The Court may decide on a new trial but only in exceptional cases. It may decide to avail itself of the existing evidence only if it considers it vital for the decision. You can ask for unexpected or newly discovered evidence, which came to light after the first instance judgment to be considered during the appeal.

If you haven’t attended the first degree stage of the trial and you can prove that it was impossible for you to do so, or because you were not aware that the trial was taking place, the Court may decide to restart the trial.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

Your lawyer must be present at the trial. You can participate but it is not mandatory.

You have the right to have an interpreter.

If the Court decides to restart the trial it will reconsider all the evidence.

Once the closing statements of the parties are over, the Court will present its verdict.

What happens if the appeal is successful/unsuccessful?

If the Court admits the appeal it may quash or modify the sentence either totally or partially.

If the Court doesn’t admit the appeal it will confirm the sentence of the court which first heard the case.

If you are acquitted of the charges at the appeal stage, generally there is no provision for you to receive compensation.

Can I appeal against the sentence of the Court of Appeal?

You can appeal against the decision on appeal to the Court of Cassation.

The appeal may be submitted by yourself or by your counsel as long as he is registered in the “Albo dei patrocinanti in Cassazione” [a special Register of advocacy in the Court of Cassation]

The appeal has to be presented to the Court of Appeal within a variable period of time: from 15 to 45 days.

Cases for appeal are strict and only deal with legal errors.

The hearings may be in private or in public.

The Court of Cassation decides on the basis of the court records.

The Court of Cassation may not admit the appeal or reject it, or else quash the appealed sentence with or without committal to trial. If there is to be a retrial, the case will be sent back to the original judge.

What happens after the sentence is final?

The sentence becomes final, unless you appeal to the Court of Appeal or the Court of Cassation within the terms provided by law, or after the decision by which the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal.

When the sentence is final it becomes enforceable.

It is registered at the Criminal Records Office.

If the penalty is the payment of a fine you will have to pay the amount requested by the Office.

If you were given a prison sentence, which is not suspended, the Public Prosecutor presents an enforceable order.

If you have to serve three years or less in prison, the Public Prosecutor may suspend the sentence and notify you of his decision.

You may apply within 30 days for a different measure rather than imprisonment to the “Tribunale di Sorveglianza” [a sort of Parole Board]. If there are existing preconditions, you may ask to be submitted either to the supervision of a social worker, to be placed under house arrest or under the supervision of a rehabilitation and prevention centre.

If you don’t submit your request or if your application is rejected you must start serving the sentence.

I am from another Member State. Can I be sent back after the trial?

The judge may apply the security measure of deportation if you have been sentenced to more than two years of imprisonment.

The judge may replace the prison sentence with deportation with a re-entry prohibition, if you have been convicted or plea-bargained for a two year prison sentence and there are no provisions allowing a suspended sentence. Deportation will be immediate even if the sentence is not final. The competent authority is the “Questore” [provincial chief of the state-run police].

You may also be deported if you are already in prison and have to serve a sentence of less than two years. The order is presented by the Magistrate of the “Tribunale di Sorveglianza”. You may appeal the decision before the “Tribunale di Sorveglianza”.

Will information about the charges and/or the conviction be added to my criminal records?

Final sentences are registered in the criminal records.

Records are removed as soon as you are over 80 years old or after death.
They are removed also if the case is reviewed.

Sentences imposed by the Justice of the Peace will be removed five years after the date the sanction was issued, if a fine was imposed, or after ten years for a different penalty, and if no further crime/offence has been committed within the established period of time.

You may ask the competent Court to have records and certificates from the Criminal Records Office corrected. If you were born abroad, the competent court is the Court in Rome.

If I am convicted, can I be tried again for the same crime?

If you were convicted by an Italian Judge, the conviction is final, and you cannot be tried again in Italy for the same crime.

If you were convicted by a foreign Judge and it is a crime/offence committed in Italy then you can be tried again in Italy.

Related links

General law issues

Ministry of Interior

General issues for non nationals

Penal law issues

State Police

Last update: 18/01/2022

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